Fire chief’s death shocked Portlanders in 1911; his memorial – and heroism – now fades from view

  • Source: The Oregonian
  • Published: 02/09/2024 12:00 AM

PHOTOS: The fledgling plans for a memorial bothered the fire chief’s widow. “The chief did his duty,” Wiebka Campbell told a reporter. “That was all the monument he ever thought of having, just to be remembered as having done the best he could.” The people of Portland wouldn’t abide such modesty. David Campbell – struck down at 47 – was a true hero. And such men, everyone knew, were hard to come by in this modern world. The city’s newspapers, recognizing the mood of their readers, took up the call for a memorial. Day after day, donations poured in – $1, $5, in one case $100. It helped that David Campbell had captured the public’s imagination even before his shocking death. Fire chief, man about town, boxing phenom – Campbell had been a local celebrity for years.


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